How To Sew A Zipper Tab

Learn how to sew a zipper tab to one end of a zipper. Usually, this is an easy way to make your zipper sewing project look nice and professional, and to make it easier to grab when opening or closing the zipper. Use the tabbed zipper end on zipper cases to make them open really wide - and the content of a case is clearly visible. No searching for stuff! I've made this tutorial for one of my own patterns (this TEYA tote!), but I'm sure it will be handy for anyone to use. Check it out!

How to sew a zipper tab

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This zipper will open really wide. A must for a slim-size cross-body bag like my favorite TEYA! (You can check it out here.) 

You'll Need:

All you'll need to sew a zipper tab is your zipper and a tiny piece of fabric. These are the dimensions:

- width: 2 x width of the zipper tape
- length: 4 x width of the zipper tape

So, for the regular, one-inch wide zipper tape, you'll cut out a rectangle 2" by 4" (~5cm x 10cm)

How to sew a zipper tab

How To Sew A Zipper Tab on One End Of A Zipper 

1) Cut the zipper tab piece out of your fabric.

How to sew a zipper tab

2) Adjust zipper length:

If your zipper is longer than needed, trim the end of the zipper, leaving a tail. It depends on a project, but I usually leave 2-3 inch excess length for zipper pouches and a bit more (5 inch) for a bag (like this one).

How to sew a zipper tab

By the way, have you noticed how I threaded the needle here in the pic? Check out this no-knot trick, it's so popular!

sewing hack

3) Let's go on: secure the end of the zipper with a few hand stitches:
How to sew a zipper tab

4) Let's start making the TAB:

Place the tab piece wrong side up. Fold both the upper and the lower edge towards the center and press:
How to sew a zipper tab

5) Fold again, this time the left and the right edge towards the center. By now, you'll have this:
zipper tab

6) It must be the same width as the zipper. Double-check now!
sewing zipper tab

7) Slide the piece onto the trimmed end of the zipper – to the middle of the piece:
How to sew a zipper tab

8) Fold under the other part of the piece towards the zipper end. Make sure to hide all raw edges:
How to sew a zipper tab

9) To prevent the folds from sliding when I sew, I often make a few baste stitches by hand.  (Pinning doesn't work for me here, the area is too thick and too small.)
How to sew a zipper tab

10) Stitch around the tab, using a long straight stitch (8 stitches per inch or less = this equals 3 mm or more in metric). 

Pivot at corners: lift the presser foot, needle in, and pivot the fabric at each point. Makes sewing easier for you, and the seams neat!

How to sew a zipper tab

11) Secure the stitch at the end.

How to sew a zipper tab to one end of a zipper

BONUS TIP: For a nicer finish, I suggest you don't back-stitch - leave the thread ends longer, pull them to the back of the tab, and tie a knot as close to the fabric as possible. Then snip off the excess thread. Or, even better, use a hand-stitching needle to pull the threads into the fabric. Works wonders, every single time!

zipper tab

Niiice! Are you interested how this tiny piece of fabric looks like on the bag? Here:

bag pattern with a zipper tab

Now it's your turn: encase the zipper end in a piece of fabric and give your zipper pouch or bag a nice finish. 

Save For Later:

Want More Free Patterns+Tutorials?

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free pattern for a fabric hanging basket

Or... check out THE TEYA bag, one of my own popular PDF patterns:

(It's the one I made the tutorial for zipper tabs in the first place!) - Teya Bag Pattern here.


  1. Thank you so much for this tutorial. I'm just now sewing for Christmas gifts for my 6 granddaughters!

    1. Candy,

      thanks for dropping by. I'd love to see what you make for your granddaughters!

  2. As always, a comprehensive tutorial, Damjana. Featured today...